Tom Fruin’s New York Watertower – Made of 1000 scrap plexiglass pieces

Last updated

Tom-Fruin-Watertower-New-York-Brooklyn-1
Tom FruinWatertower, 2010, 6x3x3m, found plexiglas, steel, bolts

Published on: Wednesday August 22, 2012

Last updated

The Water Tower

Not many artists enjoy the privilege of having their pieces displayed in New York City’s prime locations, but artist Tom Fruin does enjoy this. His creation of the Water Tower is a sight to behold and can be easily viewed from FDR Drive, parks and streets of Dumbo, Manhattan Bridge, Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and various other nearby points.

The water tower is just a water tower, but nothing as beautiful is found in New York. For New Yorkers, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and the rooftop Water Tower are all the same because all three of them reach the skyline. In 2012, when the distinctive Water Tower received a redesign from the artist Tom Fruin, it was transformed into something extraordinary.

How the artwork was made

In the South of the Manhattan Bridge, atop Jay street and in Dumbo, Manhattan sits the water tower designed by Tom Fruin. This sculpture was created with more or less one thousand individual pieces of salvaged Plexiglas and steel bands. These pieces of Plexiglas were obtained from all over New York; from old sign shops in Chinatown, warehouses, and even closed-down artist studios.

Some say that Fruin’s water tower shows quite a resemblance to a modern stained-glass window. In the daytime, the kaleidoscopic work is illuminated by the rays of the sun. At night this beautiful piece is lit by some custom-designed lights by Ryan Hollsopple, a conceptual artist. The lights in the water tower are Arduino-controlled internal light sequence that makes the bright colors glow more in the dark.

This project was from the series Icon that consisted of sculptural tributes to architectural icons around the world, made from Plexiglas and steel. It focused on creating art from recycled materials. Many scavenged and reclaimed material was found and turned into architectural icons all around the globe. The water Tower is designed from the bright Plexiglass, which makes it glow in the sunlight.

Tom Fruin - Watertower, New York, Brooklyn - 6
Tom FruinWatertower, 2010, 6x3x3m, found plexiglass, steel, bolts

Tom-Fruin-Watertower-New-York-Brooklyn-5
Tom FruinWatertower, 2010, 6x3x3m, found plexiglass, steel, bolts

The meaning of the work

These beautiful water towers were made to reach a broader audience. Water Tower is one of Fruin’s very first public sculptures. He wanted to reach everybody, not just people who could understand and appreciate art, and create something that would impact on everyone.

A symbol of New York

Fruin considers the water tower as a symbol of New York. He talks about how he finds it casual and cool. The round wood design pulls him towards it even more. As a New Yorker since the 1990s, he finds salvation in the water tower. It looks like something humane in a very urban environment. It almost feels like one can depend on it for humanity.

The influence of the environment

Fruin also says that the urban environment is critical to his work. That is where most of his work comes from. The urban environment does not just show up in his work but also in the type of materials he uses. The materials Fruin uses in his work are those that are readily available in a city like New York but won’t is that readily available in the countryside.

He confirms this when he says that if he were someone in the countryside, his work would reflect that. He then would be making something from leaves or other natural elements. This shows a lot that he is a more modern and urban artist that would make do of anything given. The way he redesigns those water towers in an urban way while still preserving its natural rural tinge is merely remarkable.

Fruin likes to work with anything obtainable. He would not require unique materials or paints. There is no extravagance in his work. He would work with anything people found as scrap and turn it into a masterpiece. He uses his knowledge and the recyclable material to develop something new and unique.

Why does this work matter?

Water Tower is an essential piece in terms of learning. This multicolored piece by Fruin tells us how the most beautiful things can be created by recycling. In a very urban city like New York, it is quite remarkable that he uses the idea of recycling. It truly is iconic. He could create something out of scrap. But what pulls you towards this sculpture is not just the easy design and the beauty. It is the humanity encased in it. It rather is a very symbolic structure.

Water Tower represents salvation, and here this, in the middle of New York City, this water tower represents humanity and simplicity. It is like a beacon of hope for many. Through this idea, Fruin reaches out too many apart from the art connoisseurs.

Conclusion

In a city like New York where there are large buildings everywhere and people are rushing from one place to another being least bothered by the passing fellow. This water tower gives many of those hope of humanity. Even though it is mostly steel and plexiglass, but there is wood in it too that is not a too industrial material. The thing about Fruin is that he doesn’t put too much effort. He wants to be his work effortless and not over the top for people to feel connected to it, and he finds simplicity the key.

In a city like New York, the water tower is an impressive sight. High in the sky, from where everyone can see it, the Water Tower reaches out to everyone. There is simplicity, there is beauty, and there is cost-effectivity that pulls the eyes towards it.

Details

Light Show

Since the opening in June, daily light shows were beginning at dusk and continuing to morning, using light sequences designed by Ryan Holsopple. Watertower was installed until June 2013.

Location

On the rooftop of 20 Jay Street and viewable from the parks and streets of Dumbo, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, FDR Drive and Lower Manhattan.

Prime viewing locations

Brooklyn Bridge Park at Washington Street (map) and the Manhattan Bridge bike path.

Video: The Watertower at night

49sec

Photos

Day

Tom Fruin – Watertower, 2010, 6x3x3m, found plexiglas, steel, bolts
Tom FruinWatertower, 2010, 6x3x3m, found plexiglass, steel, bolts

Tom Fruin – Watertower, 2010, 6x3x3m, found plexiglass, steel, bolts
Tom FruinWatertower, 2010, 6x3x3m, found plexiglass, steel, bolts

Tom Fruin – Watertower, 2010, 6x3x3m, found plexiglas, steel, bolts 2
Tom FruinWatertower, 2010, 6x3x3m, found plexiglass, steel, bolts

Tom-Fruin-Watertower-New-York-Brooklyn-3
Tom FruinWatertower, 2010, 6x3x3m, found plexiglass, steel, bolts

Night

Tom Fruin - Watertower, New York, Brooklyn - 4
Tom FruinWatertower, 2010, 6x3x3m, found plexiglass, steel, bolts

Tom Fruin – Watertower, 2010, 6x3x3m, found plexiglas, steel, bolts
Tom FruinWatertower, 2010, 6x3x3m, found plexiglass, steel, bolts
Photo: R.V. Ingersoll/myonebeautifulthing.com

Tom Fruin – Watertower, 2010, 6x3x3m, found plexiglas, steel, bolts
Tom FruinWatertower, 2010, 6x3x3m, found plexiglass, steel, bolts

All images by Robert Banat for Tom Fruin/tomfruin.com unless otherwise noted.

Related works

Discover more ..
Support us Want to support us? Want to see less ads? Be part of our fully independent operation and support us with a donation. We are a fully independent operation. One hundred percent of our editorial content is specifically commissioned. Contributions can be made with PayPal or by credit card.

Support us

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*


Stay in touch

We would love to keep the conversation going.

Please join us on Pinterest, YouTube or Instagram.

Want inspiration in your inbox?